The O'Rahilly Poem by William Butler Yeats

The O'Rahilly

Rating: 3.9


SING of the O'Rahilly,
Do not deny his right;
Sing a 'the' before his name;
Allow that he, despite
All those learned historians,
Established it for good;
He wrote out that word himself,
He christened himself with blood.
How goes the weather?

Sing of the O'Rahilly
That had such little sense
He told Pearse and Connolly
He'd gone to great expense
Keeping all the Kerry men
Out of that crazy fight;
That he might be there himself
Had travelled half the night.
How goes the weather?

'Am I such a craven that
I should not get the word
But for what some travelling man
Had heard I had not heard?'
Then on pearse and Connolly
He fixed a bitter look:
'Because I helped to wind the clock
I come to hear it strike.'
How goes the weather?

What remains to sing about
But of the death he met
Stretched under a doorway
Somewhere off Henry Street;
They that found him found upon
The door above his head
'Here died the O'Rahilly.
R.I.P.' writ in blood.
How goes the weather.?

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Val Andrews 10 August 2018

Is Yeats being cynical and degrading of a blood sacrifice? Perhaps he knows 'craven'. Sure it seemed like a futile act to charge a machine gun post. That is why he is called The O Rathallaigh. Would the English have listened if we sent flowers and chocolates. Yeats reflects his rich upbringing, me thinks.

0 3 Reply
Mark 15 September 2021

I think the O'Rahilly was also from quite a wealthy background. Just different outlooks. Although not a supporter of the Rising or the IRB, Yeats came to respect the participants over time perhaps due to his attachment towards Maud Gonne

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William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats

County Dublin / Ireland
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